Clareified

Where does the good go

Archive for December, 2010

Dawn’s totally cheerleader end of the year gratitude journal

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

What started out as a joke, some five years ago, has become one of my favorite end of the year exercises.

Clareified person of the year!

I liked my comprehensive thank yous that I did last year, but it was too hard and cumbersome to repeat. I do want to thank Pdov, Pearatty, Mayor Pearatty, Cee, Notoriouslig, Vero, Probably April, Not @Jnassi, @astinto, Chilly, @heitmosa, Pi, KJ, The Jakes, Rick Blaine, Grange95, The Cider Fraud, Angela, and Vince for hosting me at their homes or taking me out for awesome meals and/or drinks throughout the year. Thanks to Mary for not ever stabbing me in my sleep, though she had more than ample opportunity and cause. Thanks to Fisch for staking me through my poker slump and being my mom’s IT guy. To Kaz for a delicious homecooked meal and helping to build Sammy’s car. And Alceste, in advance, for changing the light bulb in my hallway. (Alceste, can you change the lightbulb in my hallway? Please and thank you.)

But there are actual bona fide Clareified persons of the year this time!

Going into November, the result was an uncontested landslide. I mean, honest to goodness beatdown. But then he made some terrible decisions going into the final stretch, including re-raising me WITH ACE HIGH AND wishing that I lose in a superbowl to that dreadful CK, costing himself like 432 points and allowing a strong end of the year performance from my favorite not gay gay, to score the end of year tie.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that VinNay gets the 2010 Clareified person of the year honors. Outside of Mary and Alceste, I didn’t see anyone more than I saw my ninth favorite Buffalo resident. Our almost daily text messages which ran the gamut from the absurd (Nazi zombies) to the even more absurd (apocalypse survival planning day. “Less mass is good. F-train will survive forever.”), never failed to crack me up, even when I was in one of my determined to be in my most melacholy of moods. Who sends me random Star Wars dialogue at 6 am? And taunting pictures of himself drinking sodas when I don’t have one? And details his plans to kill all religious people, especially me? Yup. If I ever write the book “Texts with Vinnay,” it would be called “No hookers or cocaine, just sluts and beers.” But I couldn’t write that book because it would be way too racist and sexist. And the stuff about black hookers? Racist AND Sexist. Oh wait…I think I wrote that one.

It’s funny, many of my friendships all have the same milestones. The day when I’m finally comfortable enough with a person to say “Seriously, guy. There is no i in my name. The next time you spell my name with an i, I’m going to cut your throat.” The day when I’m all “Where are my commmmmeeennnnnnttttssssssssss????????” And when I actually answer a phone call from said person. And with Vinnay that was all this year! Plus, he was the first person who I let drive Prince Eli:

Well, second:

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He has really great friends and I had fun hanging out with them in Buffalo and Las Vegas and I’m stealing every last one of them. He has terrible tastes in sports teams and I want no part of them. I’ve admired his loyalty to people even when they are stupid and evil and I hate them. But will grudgingly accept that he’s right when he says without certain aforementioned stupid evil people who I hate, we wouldn’t be friends. And I would be sad. I do wish I had known him before I became as jaded about friendships as I am. (Tired of being surprised when people I used to be close with suddenly vanish from my life for whatever reason, I have now required that my friends preschedule our friendship end dates. Vinnay called 2011. F-train called 2012. (*After* my birthday season, of course!) For the last seven months they’ve been in intense negotiations to switch. At last meeting, F-train offered Vinnay $120 for the 2011 slot. But I think everyone was drunk and now Vinnay can’t remember if he accepted or not.)
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This is as close as Vinny ever comes to smiling in pictures.

Also, I love that he can’t ever beat me in poker! He is planning to invent games where the person with no chips left wins…in which case, he might stand a shot.
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Anyways, Vinnay’s not just one of my favorite people to be silly with, but when Avery disappeared and was ultimately found, he was awesomely supportive in a completely non intrusive way. While Ave was still missing, I texted him for a whole afternoon about my theories about what might have happened — never once entertaining the possibility that Avery was dead. When I got the news that they found his body, Vinnay was one of the first people I told and he said “I had a feeling it was something like that.” And I was all “WHAT? But yesterday you were totally on board with amnesia! LIAR!” HMPH. I’m deducting another point.

Aw, but Vinnay also did poetry Wednesday four times, which is the most of anybody except me, which means that although I win poetry Wednesday. Vinnay comes in second, so I’ll give him a point for that.

So, he stays tied with F-train.

It’s weird that I’ve known F-train like for 12 years, but we have a very ebb and flow relationship. Like last year, for instance, I think I saw him maybe once and I barely talked to him whilst he was off jaunting about around the world covering poker tournaments and wooing his way through the world’s female Asian population. But this year, I saw him a bunch of times and we tweet and text all the time! He’s always trying to gross me out with his grossness. And making me laugh with his ongoing “stuff I want to comment, but can’t” texts. BUT he makes sure that he does actually comment! On ALL MY BLOGS. (I’m looking at you, you know who you are.) PLUS, F-train texts me stuff like “I need more posting from you, so I can comment!” He even drove his car through the rain, all night, flew like 300 miles, rode on the back of a pickup truck filled with straw and farm animals, just to surprise me in San Diego at the Patriots game! He very astutely then observed “Oh man, I probably shouldn’t have done this. Now she’s going to think she’s important and stuff.”
AND I DO! I’m totally important!! AND STUFF!

Also, his “hey for what it’s worth, you have my permission to skip my funeral if anything ever happens to me,” is totally one of the all time sweetest text messages I have ever gotten. But, like I’ve been telling everyone I know for the last two months: nobody else that I know is allowed to die. I mean it. I will… see here is where I would normally threaten violence and killing… well, something else! Nobody dies! #Dawnlaw

F-train is also my favoritest because even though he SAID we were going out to the Nevada desert where he was going to murder me and bury my body, WE ACTUALLY WENT FOR DONUTS! (No follow up questions about why I would voluntarily meet someone who told me they were planning to kill me. Dawn makes bad decisions. What?)
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F-train and his bestest most important friend.

He is also an exceptional assessor of people and while he has mostly had the good sense not to render his judgments of me, whenever his assessments of others have hit too close to home, he always very sweetly says “well…but at least your self aware.” Awesome. #RUDE And now I’m deducting a point.

So, I guess Vinnay wins. But honestly, I love the two of them like a fat kid loves cake. It’s no coincidence that the three of us are all Cancers. Odd creatures who carry our protective shells on our back as we scuttle across the sands of life, but just beneath that surface we are delicious lumps of crab meat…mmm… crab… wait, where was I? Oh yeah, they’re awesome and in a year which has more sucked than not and I would have been content to stay hidden away till the new year, they were the ones who drew me out the most. I will miss whichever one of you gets 2011 terribly. For like four days, after which point you will be dead to me and I will never speak of you again. See how that works?

Honorable mention also goes to a Cancer: Little teeny perfectly normal baby size Max, who is the first infant not to cry at all when he met me.
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Either time! Even though his parents tried to feed him yucky bananas when I was there and make him associate that grossness with black people. #RUDE

And lastly, well, let me preface this with Aunt Dawn does NOT have favorites. She loves all her nieces and nephews equally, she just loves Patriots fans most of all, so we give Clareified rookie of the year honors to the cutest Patriots fan in the world:

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OH MY GOSH! HOW CUUUTTTEEEE IIISSSSS WWYYYYGGGGAAANNNNTTT in his Brady jersey????
Seriously, DO NOT STARE DIRECTLY AT THIS PICTURE! You will go blinded from the adorableness.

It took like four days for my sight to come back. But it was totally worth it!

DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Damn, my friends have cute kids, don’t they? Show offs.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Miles to go

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

When I started doing regular poetry Wednesdays, it was always my intention to end the series with this poem. Of course, it was also my intention to only do it for one year and I managed to keep it going for almost two.

It’s been a rewarding exercise. I had almost forgotten how much I loved poetry and poem analysis. What can I say? I’m a word nerd. Ooh, I should get that on a T-shirt! Alas, I have honestly long run out of poems that I really wanted to write about. Though I managed to find to some wonderful new poems from google searches and all my fantastic guest bloggers, I can no longer sustain a weekly poetry post. But the space remains open for anyone who wants to contribute them and I’ll readily publish any new interesting poems I come across.

All that administrative stuff out of the way, let’s talk about Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening.

There are a handful of poems I can still recite by heart after being forced to learn the words in school, and this is one of them. Pearatty, I think, told me once that Frost, in an interview, shunned attempts to assign any deep meaning to this poem. “It’s just about a snowy night.” That story makes me laugh because I love this poem because not only is it very short and simple, but it’s also twisted and dark. The image of this lone rider *reluctantly* making his way back to town out of a snowstorm even on the darkest night of the year…well, it’s quite a grim assesment of his life, isn’t it?

He wants to stay out here. Forever, possibly. But he has promises to keep. And things to do and so he trudges on.

I’m writing this post from the warm comfort of my dining room table, but a few inches away, I can see the snow drift resting heavy on my balcony door. I watched Sunday night’s precipitation slowly cling to my railings and fill up the flower pots. I recalled watching storms from my bedroom window, as a kid, and delighting in how the fire escapes in the back of the building slowly turned from black to white. Snowfall can be a seductively hypnotic phenomena. So maybe the poem is just about a snowy nighht. Or maybe it’s about all the things that can suddenly catch us unawares, capturing our attention. All those shiny distractions which tempt us away from responsibility and obligation.

If we’re lucky, something will gently shake a bell or tap us on the shoulder and remind us to get going. If we’re not, well, there’s always the spring thaw.


Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

“Who murdered Dawn and is calling me from her phone?” – Vinnay

Audience Participation Tuesday

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

I’m not going to lie, the plan is to take a knee and run out the clock on this ridiculous year. Alceste’s observation, a few days ago, that I have been testy of late, is not lost on me. I really do seem to hate everybody a little extra right now. So, I’m avoiding all unnecessary human contact. (Read: all human contact.)

But Fisch’s guest post yesterday mocking one of my favorite phrases, reminded me of a conversation I had with F-train where he insisted I stop using a phrase I got from this girl I went I high school with, so I hereby open up the floor on the question… what Clareifiedisms do you want to never read again? You decide which adherents of the repeated meme don’t make it to the next decade.

(Yes, somebody has started watching Dr. Who. Word to the wise? Don’t ask people what their facebook statuses mean.)

King Nothing (by guest blogger Fisch)

Monday, December 27th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

Did you ever love a song so much that you played it over and over and felt that it really spoke to your soul…until you finally looked up the lyrics and were like “wtf is this crap?”

(When I write my book based on Dawn’s life, there will be a chapter filled with the lines she overuses. Here would be where she’d say “umm no? Me neither. ‘Whistles’)

(Another thing about Dawn…If I had forgotten to write the poetry-Wednesday that I volunteered for, she NEVER would have reminded me. Because it would be, oh, so much more devastating if I remembered on my own days later and said OMG.)

(The book will be titled “Scrutable.”)

This poem was something like that for me (the WTF part, not the crap part).

Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

When I was younger, I must have heard the snippet “I am ozymandias king of kings, look on my works ye mighty and despair” and thought it was a bad-ass statement. I even said it to others once in a while when I wanted to be particularly bad-ass.

But as I learnt when I finally read the poem…I had it backwards.
The “colossal wreck” is all bark and no bite.

So what’s the lesson?

We’re all tiny tiny specks in a tiny tiny part of the universe and no one will remember any of us in a hundred years, let alone a thousand or ten.

But isn’t that such a relief?
Nothing we do or don’t do really matters, because we’re nobody. We’re all nobodies.
Yay.

(Except for the fact that Ozymandias is immortalized not only by this poem but by the bible too, as supposedly he is the king of the Egyptians that wouldn’t let Moses go…ten plagues…yada yada…So maybe what we do does matter?)

Of course, this whole argument about nothing mattering because we’re so small and fleeting, goes on the assumption that that would be the measure of what matters. If instead we judge based on the affect we have on others during our lifetime, then it’s a good time to spread some holiday comfort and joy.

Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

Operation Repatriate Wygant has its Step 2: Mail the baby to Aunt Dawn!

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Also, look at the present he sent me! For an 11 month year old, his gift wrapping skills already surpass my own! And you should see his penmanship! I no longer worry about him having to go to Harvard. Whew.

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Thanks also to the Jakes, VinNay and Pearatty!

That’s my block!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 by Dawn Summers

I have been trying to get into this bar for three years!

But everytime I go it’s “closed.” Even though I can clearly see people inside eyeing me suspiciously! I even brought Pearatty one time as my “white camoflauge.”

Quote of the week

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 by Dawn Summers

“You are very stabby these days.” – Alceste

#RUDE Also #LIES Everyone knows I am sweetness and light. AND!

Mirrors mirrors on the wall, don’t make me have to smash you all

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 by Dawn Summers

When I was younger, like 6 or 7, the mirror was my best friend.

I would stare into the glass for hours; I practiced to cry, studied what my face looked like when I laughed or yelled or frowned. With my mirror, I doubled my GI Joe combat forces in order to successfully capture the smurfs and destroy their village. Oh, how the mirror and I laughed and laughed as Papa smurf pleaded for mercy.

The mirror and I had serious conversations too. Spelling was hard. Ms. Bilboul was mean. Where is our right glove?

Frankly, I blame Snow White. Not the girl, the movie.

I assumed that everyone talked to mirrors.

My mother would ask who I was talking to and I would answer “the mirror,” and carry on as I were.

To her credit, my mother never said anything else.

Or…um…to her complete and utter failing as a parent. I can’t decide.

Anyway, I guess I stopped actually conversing with the mirror in my early teens (or by nine…whatever age is perfectly normal for one to stop conversing with mirrors. Cause I am normal. Nothing’s wrong with me. Get away from me with your white coats!) That is, assuming that rehearsing my monologues and speeches don’t count.

And then, one day, I was either 18 or 19, I was staring into the mirror and I saw a grey hair in my head.

What. The. Fuck?

I brushed it furiously with my hand. Clearly I had had some kind of flour mishap. This could not be real.

It was. I yanked it out of my head and washed it down the sink.

I stared accusingly into the reflexive surface.

“How DARE you? After all we’ve been through.” I turned away from that backstabbing mirror and never looked back.

I spent the rest of college in mirror less rooms, my apartment in law school only had a mirror on the medicine cabinet. I certainly didn’t carry one with me. Ever.

My former confidante was now a turncoat tattletale.

“There’s a hair sticking out of your chin!”

“Laugh line? Ha! Ten years ago maybe, ya wrinkled crone!”

“You’re so fat!”

Oh, mirror, I hate you so very much!

And then, the other day, I stumbled across this poem and I literally laughed out loud.

First, because it so exactly hits the nail on the head, but also because it’s by Sylvia Plath and I usually hate her!

So, as we speed toward the close of another year, let’s take a moment to reflect on our common enemy.

Reflect. Heh. See what I did there?

You’re welcome.

Mirror
By Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Petitedov and the Cider Fraud are getting married!

Monday, December 20th, 2010 by Dawn Summers

Congratulations! And I still want my pie and cider.